Report: US Unprepared To Handle Nuclear Disaster The Daily Caller, JONAH BENNETT, 19 DEC 14 According to a watchdog agency, the U.S. government is woefully under-prepared for handing a nuclear attack or natural disaster because of a basic lack of coordination and medical resources, The Washington Times reports.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, obtained by The Associated Press before being released to the public, has blasted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for not keeping track of disaster efforts and not availing itself of all the information necessary to make good decisions in the event of catastrophes.
“This report makes clear that there are some areas of our country’s preparedness that need strengthening up,” said Sen. Bob Casey, who co-chairs the Senate Caucus on Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism.
FEMA’s dearth of information has left the agency dangerously in the dark, and the situation hasn’t improved since Superstorm Sandy hit large parts of the eastern seaboard in 2012, causing significant damage in New Jersey, from which the state is still recovering. Instead of taking the lead and coordinating efforts between different federal agencies, both FEMA and the Energy Department failed to effectively communicate during Sandy and received strong criticism for the 182 deaths and $65 billion dollars worth of damage which followed the storm.
More generally, the GAO noted that assuming a nuclear attack struck tomorrow, it would take at least five years for the agency to even formulate a strategy to detect unsafe radiation levels. It would take longer still — between five and ten years — to come up with an adequate medical response. According to GAO, FEMA needs to do a much better job at leading cooperation and setting objectives with clear deadlines and clear costs…………http://dailycaller.com/2014/12/19/report-us-unprepared-to-handle-nuclear-disaster/
Obama Increases Allowable Levels of Radiation in Drinking Water “Dramatically”http://www.globalresearch.ca/obama-increases-allowable-levels-of-radiation-in-drinking-water-dramatically/5420787
In Time for Massive New Dumping of Daiichi Radiation
The Nuclear Industry calls this their “new normal,” according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
The EPA has issued radiation guides called Protective Action Guides or PAGs which allows more radiation than any American has ever been exposed to. Within the guides, are instructions for evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.”
Wouldn’t the massive break down of reactor number one at Fukushima be considered a ‘radiological emergency?”
Shunichi Tanaka, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, made the comment Dec. 12 about dumping radioactive waste into the ocean.
The US governments PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period. Many experts are expecting elevated cancer rates due to these “allowable” levels of radiation exposure.
The PAGs are the work of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation whose nomination to serve as EPA Administrator was only approved by the Senate a few months ago.
It is suggested that these PAGs have been in the works for over two years and are just recently available for public view.
PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said:
“This is a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace. If this typifies the environmental leadership we can expect from Ms. McCarthy, then [the] EPA is in for a long, dirty slog.”
“No compelling justification is offered for increasing the cancer deaths of Americans innocently exposed to corporate miscalculations several hundred-fold.”
DoE Announces $12.5B in Loans for Advanced Nuclear, Energy Collective Katherine Tweed December 17, 2014 The U.S. Department of Energy issued a loan guarantee solicitation for $12.5 billion on Wednesday for innovative nuclear energy projects.
The solicitation comes on top of $8 billion for advanced fossil energy projects last December, $4 billion for renewables issued earlier this year and $6.5 billion for two nuclear reactors in February, the first new nuclear to be built in the U.S. in about 30 years……………
“DOE will look favorably on Eligible Projects that will have a catalytic effect on the commercial deployment of future Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects,” the solicitation states.
The first deadline for Part I applications is March 18, 2015, followed by rolling deadlines approximately every six months.http://theenergycollective.com/katherinetweed/2170051/doe-announces-125b-loans-advanced-nuclear
Utah nixes nuclear waste storage facility 12/27/2012 http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2012/12/utah-nixes-nuclear-waste-storage-facility.html Plans to park radioactive waste at a storage facility in Utah have been officially called off, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Utility companies behind the proposed project have asked the NRC to cancel the license request, after Utahns from across the political spectrum and by wide margins came out publicly against the proposal. The 100-acre storage facility would have been situated in the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation, near a bomb testing facility and 45 miles from Salt Lake City. The cash-hungry Goshutes hoped the $3 billion project would have spurred economic development on the reservation.
DIA: North Korea Planned Attacks on US Nuclear Plants, Washington Free Beacon 18 Dec 14 Bill Gertz Five commando units trained for strikes, sabotage North Korea dispatched covert commando teams to the United States in the 1990s to attack nuclear power plants and major cities in a conflict, according to a declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report. The DIA report, dated Sept. 13, 2004, reveals that five units of covert commandos were trained for the attacks inside the country.
According to the report, the “Reconnaissance Bureau, North Korea, had agents in place to attack American nuclear power plants.”
The document states that the North Korean Ministry of People’s Armed Forces, the ministry in charge of the military, “established five liaison offices in the early 1990s, to train and infiltrate operatives into the United States to attack nuclear power plants and major cities in case of hostilities.”…….
Disclosure of the report, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, comes amid threats by presumed North Korean agents to conduct September 11-style terrorist attacks against U.S. movie theaters……….http://freebeacon.com/national-security/dia-north-korea-planned-attacks-on-us-nuclear-plants/
Video: Cemetery blocks filled with babies downwind of US nuclear site — “This needs to be talked about, the children… murdered” — Mother: My newborns died within hours, tumors all over, brain disintegrated after massive stroke — “Body parts, cadavers, fetuses… the nuclear industry took in the dead of night… from all over US”http://enenews.com/video-cemetery-blocks-filled-babies-downwind-nuclear-site-be-talked-about-children-murdered-mother-newborns-died-hours-tumors-all-brain-disintegrated-after-massive-stroke?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Kay Sutherland (Walla Walla, Washington) published Nov 8, 2010 (emphasis added):
- We’re in the Walla Walla Mountain View Cemetery standing where the babies’ graves are… Many children all died in the same era… (counting tombstones) 1950, 1950, 1950, 1950, 1945 — All of these babies need to have a voice in what Hanford has done. From this section… back towards my car, is all babies. Some of them do not have marked graves, my cousin was one.
- All of them here say ’48, ’49, ’48, ’48, ’48… ’55, ’55, ’56… ’48, ’48, ’48… This is what needs to be talked about — the children… our future, that Hanford murdered… ’46, ’46, ’46… this area must be the 1954 and ’55 area… It breaks your heart to know that there was so much sadness… because of a handful of men who decided to play god and took away… our life, our hope. ’62, ’62, ’62.
- My daughter [Jennifer] was born in 1963 [and is] buried here… double club feet… tumors throughout her body, an enlarged liver, and died from a massive stroke which disintegrated her brain. She lived 15 hours.
- It doesn’t even tell you about all the miscarriages… I myself had 4 miscarriages.
- My children are right over here… Todd lived 36 hours… These babies need to have a voice in what has happened… Todd weighed 3 lbs, 14 oz… the placenta didn’t develop.
- Jennifer, her birth was very traumatic… I hemorrhaged… filled my bed with blood. The doctor told me… when the water broke, it was green, foul smelling… It took her 2 hours… to die after she had her stroke. They never brought her to me so I could hold her… I wasn’t even told until the following day she was dead… It just goes on and on and on.
According to the Walla Walla coroner’s website, they have ‘unclaimed’ remains of nearly 100 cremated babies. 95% of the babies died between 1946 and the 1970s (56 of 57 boys; 33 of 36 girls). “Hanford produced its first plutonium on Nov 6, 1944 [until] the reactor shutdown in the 1970s.” -Source
Sutherland also noted this about Jennifer: “Her body had been removed and I wasn’t even told that she was cremated. I thought that she had been buried here… she sat on the shelf of the mortuary for 4 years… It was big secret that was kept from me, from my whole family… Everything that I thought was true wasn’t. What was true I didn’t know… Jennifer was delivered by one of the old doctors of Walla Walla… the old doctors were in-on-the-know with Hanford… His very church-going friend… did the experiments on the prisoners… She was autopsied by the very same pathology lab that autopsied Hanford people. They would… steal them away from the mortuaries over there, bring them to Walla Walla, have the pathology lab do their tests or take their body samples or parts, and take them back to Hanford… without their families ever knowing… The nuclear mausoleum [is] under the direction of… Washington St. University… They have body parts, cadavers, fetuses — any kind of sample that you can imagine… that the nuclear industry took in the dead of night, under cloak-and-dagger terms, from all over the US [and] nuclear facilities.”
Nuclear expansion gets OK to drink deep from Savannah River Savannahnow.com By Mary Landers, 13 Dec 14 A massive water withdrawal permit issued for nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle will allow the nuclear power plant to pull an additional 74 million gallons of water a day from the Savannah River.
When the reactors come on line later this decade, the nuclear plant will use more river water than the cities of Savannah and Augusta combined.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued the approval after the agency received more than 250 comments about the draft permit. By the agency’s own count 243 of those letters requested the permit be denied or delayed.
Despite the public outcry, EPD changed almost nothing in the final version of the permit, which was signed Dec. 5 and made public Tuesday on the EPD website.
“It seems to me they are just going to do what they wanted to do anyway,” said Kurt Ebersbach, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “While they’re happy to observe the process, it was not meaningful to the decision.”………….
Environmentalists have argued that water usage is an additional hidden cost of nuclear. A massive volume of water is needed for cooling, with a loss of up to 88 percent to evaporation in the process………………http://savannahnow.com/news/2014-12-12/nuclear-expansion-gets-ok-drink-deep-savannah-river
U.S. Should Save Nuclear Industry From Fracking Peril: IEA, Jeff McMahon, Forbes, 18 Dec 14, The United States needs to develop clear policies to support its ailing nuclear industry—which is prone to seeing old reactors close rather than new reactors open largely because of the impact on energy prices of cheap natural gas from fracking, the International Energy Agency said in a report released today.
“The domestic nuclear industry is therefore at a critical juncture as a consequence of its declining economic competitiveness, and existing market mechanisms do not favour investment in high capital-intensive nuclear technology,” according to the IEA’s comprehensive review of U.S. energy policy for 2014.
“There is a need, therefore, to develop and articulate a clear strategy for nuclear power, including a statement of how the federal government will provide long-term support. Given the long lead times for construction and the declining share of nuclear power in the energy mix, these considerations should be concluded quickly.”……..
The free market is unlikely to revive the U.S. nuclear industry without government intervention, it says……
The IEA report will embolden efforts by nuclear utilities like Exelon that have sought government support for nuclear energy and reduced support for competitors, such as tax subsidies for wind power. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2014/12/18/u-s-should-save-nuclear-industry-from-fracking-peril-iea/
In a report issued Thursday, staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission concluded the lack of assured water fails the standard to license a nuclear waste complex.
The NRC report also noted the Department of Energy lacks permanent control of the 230-square-mile site 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The project had operated under temporary land withdrawals that have since expired, and would need Congress to set aside the tracts for it to be completed.
The findings delivered a blow to a cadre of lawmakers on Capitol Hill and nuclear industry executives trying to resurrect the nuclear waste project that has been mothballed by the Obama administration.
If the licensing process was revived, the water and land control issues would need to be addressed and corrected. Neither are close to being resolved in the project’s favor.
The state of Nevada in a long legal fight has blocked the government from obtaining water for the Yucca Mountain Project, declaring it is not in the public interest.
A government lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas challenges the state’s denial of water permits, but it has been largely inactive since the program was deactivated.
Similarly, a Yucca Mountain land withdrawal was proposed in Congress in 2007 but it was not considered and the issue has not been under discussion in recent years.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., a leading opponent of Yucca Mountain, said the report underscored major weaknesses in the project.
“This is just one reason why the Yucca Mountain project will never be built,” Reid said in a statement……..http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/nrc-finds-hole-yucca-mountain-bid
America Almost Had a Nuclear-Armed Drone Bomber, Medium.com, Adam Rawnsley
on Dec 16 2014 Air Force wanted to remove the pilots from B-47s Long before the CIA began sending missile-armed drones to attack Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, U.S. Air Force officials mulled sending robotic aircraft against the Soviet Union.
Carrying nuclear bombs.
Starting in late 1949, Air Force officials kicked off what would become Project Brass Ring, an attempt to turn long-range B-47 Stratojet bombers into remotely-piloted nuclear-weapons delivery vehicles.
We learned about the Air Force’s quest to build an unmanned nuclear bomber—which the flying branch ultimately abandoned—from A History of the Air Force Atomic Energy Program: 1943–1953, a series of declassified internal studies on the Air Force’s early nuclear history………
the Air Force opted to end the research.
Until recently. Today the Air Force is shopping around for a new nuclear-capable Long Range Strike Bomber. There’s speculation that the plane could wind up being “optionally-manned”—that is, robotic with the flip of a switch. Much like Brass Ring’s B-47 six decades ago. https://medium.com/war-is-boring/america-almost-had-a-nuclear-armed-drone-bomber-e494e2e9a286
Gov’t report sounds alarm on Hanford’s nuclear waste tanks http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/hanford/2014/12/16/hanford-nuclear-waste-tanks-gao-report-december-2014/20489933/ Gary M Chittim, December 16, 2014 Tanks holding millions of gallons of nuclear and chemical waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are deteriorating at a faster rate than previously thought, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The GAO report was released today by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who is demanding the Department of Energy (DOE) develop a plan to address leaks and other tank issues. He said the DOE must act on the recommendations in the report instead of acknowledging them and then doing nothing, as it has done in the past.
“Agreeing to recommendations is one thing, implementing them is another thing entirely,” Wyden said. “The DOE’s ‘watch-and-wait’ strategy for these tanks leaking nuclear waste into the soil is completely unacceptable. I’m asking for a schedule and a plan of action within 90 days to implement the GAO’s recommendations at Hanford.”
Highlights of the report include new information on the number of older, single-shell tanks (SSTs) at Hanford that are experiencing what’s called water intrusion – 14 as of the fall of 2014. Rain or ground water entering the tanks can cause a host of problems, including mobilizing the waste and giving monitors undependable levels of waste in the tank, making it difficult to detect leaks.
In addition, one of the SSTs (T-111) is leaking at a much higher rate than thought, some 640 gallons per year.
There are concerns the waste, which is leftover from decades of plutonium production at the 586-square-mile reservation in southeastern Washington, could leak through the aging tanks into the groundwater and the nearby Columbia River.
The report also found that several of the newer double-shell tanks (DSTs) share the same design flaws blamed for leaking in the interior wall of AY-102 – a DST found to be leaking in 2012. DOE is in the process of developing a plant that can convert the radioactive waste into stable glass that can be safely stored for hundreds of years. That plant is years behind schedule, billions of dollars over budget and plagued by unresolved design and safety issues.
Critics, including Wyden, have demanded DOE develop a plan for dealing with the stored waste while those issues are resolved. The governors of Oregon and Washington have urged DOE to build additional storage tanks to hold the waste until the treatment plant is finished. The GAO report notes that DOE estimates building new tanks would take eight years and require $800 million in funding.
The DOE’s acting assistant secretary for environmental management, Mark Whitney, responded to the report by saying DOE already has a plan to constantly monitor the tanks and respond to suspected leaks.
“This program includes the use of robotic ultrasound devices, corrosion monitoring probes, and remote video cameras for the DST,” said Whitney in a written response to the report.
Watchdog: 1-year delay possible at Ga. nuke plant http://www.wrdw.com/home/headlines/Watchdog-1-year-delay-possible-at-Ga-nuke-plant-285994561.html Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
ATLANTA (AP) — A public watchdog says the construction of a nuclear power plant in Georgia is running a year late, a lag that could trigger big expenses.
Utility analyst Steven Roetger testified Tuesday that construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle could run a year longer than expected. The first new reactor was supposed to be running by late 2017, followed by the second in late 2018.
Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power was originally authorized to spend $6.1 billion on its share of the project. However, the building schedule has already suffered delays and costs have increased. The latest company estimates put the cost at $6.7 billion.
That pricetag does not reflect the cost of additional delays or resolving ongoing litigation between the plant’s builders and owners.
The nuclear money pit, The Economist Does America really need a new plutonium production line? Dec 15th 2014 | LOS ANGELES THE RECENT sabre rattling by Vladimir Putin may have unwittingly done what the United States Congress has failed to do for decades: refocus attention—and billions of additional dollars—on overhauling America’s nuclear arsenal. The $585 billion defence bill for the next fiscal year sailed through the House of Representatives last week with broad bipartisan support, and then did the same in the Senate on December 12th, despite all the fractious squabbling over the $1.1 trillion government funding measure.
More pertinently, the $11.7 billion request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a branch of the Department of Energy that oversees nuclear weapons, naval reactors and nonproliferation activities on behalf of the military, represents a 4% increase over the previous year. The biggest chunk of that—covering work on modernising the country’s nuclear weapons—is to increase by 7%. All this at a time when mandated “sequestration” cuts are supposed to be reducing military spending.
All told, the federal government intends allocating up to $1 trillion to upgrade the country’s missiles, bombers and submarines over the coming decades. Continue reading
If you believe the grim predictions of the latest climate science, Shishmaref is just the beginning. Towns in low-lying coastal plains and flood-prone river basins in the lower 48 may be next. A study from the U.S. Geological Surveywarns that 50 percent of the U.S. coastline is at high or very high risk of impacts due to sea level rise; according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 16.4 million Americans live in the coastal flood plain. If we can’t figure out how to save a village with fewer than 600 people from falling into the sea, what hope is there for everyone else?
Climate Change Takes A Village, Huff Post Kate Sheppard email@example.com
As The Planet Warms, A Remote Alaskan Town Shows Just How Unprepared We Are 12/14/2014 “……..The remote village of 563 people is located 30 miles south of the Arctic Circle, flanked by the Chukchi Sea to the north and an inlet to the south, and it sits atop rapidly melting permafrost. In the last decades, the island’s shores have been eroding into the sea, falling off in giant chunks whenever a big storm hits.
The residents of Shishmaref, most of whom are Alaska Native Inupiaq people, have tried to counter these problems, moving houses away from the cliffs and constructing barriers along the northern shore to try to turn back the waves. But in July 2002, looking at the long-term reality facing the island, they voted to pack up and move the town elsewhere.
Relocation has proven much more difficult than that single vote, however. And 12 years later, Shishmaref is still here, ready to begin another school year. Continue reading
Chemical spill at Y-12; building evacuated as part of emergency response http://www.knoxnews.com/news/local-news/chemical-spill-reported-at-y12-personnel-evacuated_18047765
Spill has been contained Frank Munger Dec 16, 2014 OAK RIDGE — Federal spokesman Steven Wyatt confirmed that a chemical spill occurred Tuesday morning inside a building at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant.
The building has been evacuated, but Wyatt could not immediately say how many people had been evacuated. He confirmed that the chemical involved was acetonitrile, a flammable and toxic solvent that can cause respiratory problems if breathed.
Wyatt said the building was the Purification Facility. He said the chemical had been contained in the “affected area.” All employees have been accounted for, with no injuries reported, he said.
The Purification Facility is known to be the facility where Fogbank — a classified substance used in some thermonuclear weapons — is produced. But Wyatt declined to say whether or not the spill was associated with that mission.
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